Happy Birthday Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands. In his honor, the European country has been celebrating April 27th since 2014 as the nationwide Koningsdag (national King’s Day in the Netherlands). In the national color orange, of course. Reason enough to donate a separate contribution to the calendar of curious holidays from all over the world and to tell its story below. What is it about?
Koninginnedag and Koningsdag: A Brief History of the Royal Holiday in the Netherlands national King’s Day in the Netherlands
The Dutch tradition of Koninginnedag or Koningsdag goes back to August 31, 1889 and the birthday of Princess Wilhelmina (1880 – 1962). Accordingly, this first edition was also celebrated as Princess Day. With the coronation of Wilhelmina as queen, this day was finally renamed Koninginnedag, which is still celebrated today, in 1890.
In addition to the birthday, there was another political intention behind the introduction of this holiday. With this occasion, the then government of the country pursued the goal of strengthening the national unity of the country and bundling the numerous local harvest festivals on a nationwide day of honor or on one date.
Until 1949, the Dutch kept August 31 as the date for the occasion. It was not until Queen Juliana ascended the throne in 1948 that the date was moved to her birthday, April 30th. With her reign, Queen’s Day became a national or official holiday on which all Dutch people had a day off.
This date was also retained by the reigning Queen Beatrix, who continued April 30 as the national holiday of the Netherlands in memory of her mother. In addition, Beatrix gave another, more pragmatic reason for keeping this date: Since her birthday falls on January 31st in winter, she wanted to give the population better conditions to celebrate in spring.
Why does the Dutch King’s Day (national King’s Day in the Netherlands) fall on April 27th?
As with the Koninginnedag, which was celebrated until 2013 in honor of the birthday of King Beatrix, in the case of the Dutch King’s Day, the date is determined by the birthday of the person wearing the crown (see also the other articles from the calendar of curious birthdays ). Accordingly, this nationwide day of honor for the monarchy falls on April 27th since King Willem-Alexander was inaugurated on April 30, 2013 in Amsterdam’s coronation church Nieuwe Kerk.
Because of the male heir to the throne, the original Koninginnedag became the Koningsdag. Exceptions are the years in which this date falls on a Sunday; Here, our Western European neighbors postpone this event to the Saturday before. After all, people should also have time off. This results in the following dates for the next ten years. At least as long as Willem-Alexander does not abdicate:
- 2019: Saturday April 27th
- 2020: Monday, April 27th
- 2021: Tuesday April 27th
- 2022: Wednesday April 27th
- 2023: Thursday, April 27th
- 2024: Saturday April 27th
- 2025: Saturday, April 26th, as April 27th is a Sunday this year
- 2026: Monday, April 27th
- 2027: Tuesday, April 27th
- 2028: Thursday, April 27th
- 2029: Friday, April 27th
How do the Netherlands celebrate their national Koningsdag?
As a national holiday, the Dutch (also) celebrate Koningsdag with a lot of devotion. Numerous events, concerts, parades and folk festivals and – and of course lots of orange – speak a clear language here. Not only in the Netherlands itself, but also in the special communities of the Caribbean, i.e. on Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Aruba. But no matter whether on the European mainland or the Caribbean islands – orange as the color of the Orange royal family is at the center of the celebrations.
On the occasion of King’s Day and National Unity Day, the whole country is wrapped in orange: orange clothes, flags, garlands on the houses, etc. If you haven’t seen it yourself, it’s hard to believe. And that in many cities on the eve of April 27, the so-called Koningsnacht. Since the celebrations – especially in the country’s big cities – have led to massive riots and excessive alcohol consumption since the mid-1990s, Queen Beatrix decreed in 2009 that alcohol could only be served from 11:30 a.m. to address this problem to restrict.
An integral part of this national holiday is the visit of the respective regent to various parishes in the country. Willem-Alexander has also continued this tradition since his enthronement in 2014. The Dutch king has visited the following communities on the occasion of Koningsdag:
- 2014: Amstelveen and Graft-De Rijp.
- 2015: Dordrecht
- 2016: Zwolle
- 2017: Tilburg
- 2018: Groningen
- 2019: Amersfoort
- 2020: No visit due to the corona pandemic
And who can not do anything of you so that, for / provided by the 27 April with the World Design Day, the US National Morse Code Day or Prime Rip Day at least three other calendar alternatives.
In this sense: Happy Birthday Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands and all of you a relaxed Koningsdag.